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Alternative Character Interpretation: Anime

When anime and manga series gain substantial fandoms, people inevitably develop differing views on the characters.

The following now have their own pages due to sheer number of examples:


  • A Certain Magical Index: Accelerator. He killed thousands of the sisters simply for the purpose of making himself stronger, and constantly taunted them as he did so. However, killing them wasn't his idea, and a portion of the fanbase believes that the taunting wasn't to be mean, but rather an attempt to get the sisters to display some sort of emotion — since they didn't have a human response, he saw them as being emotionless robots instead of human, and thus didn't feel bad about killing them. This issue is rather polarizing. Another possible interpretation comes from a scene from the anime where Accelerator says that he doesn't understand someone who would throw away their life, and he wants power because his life is what's most important to him, and that's why no matter how many sisters he kills he'll just laugh and say "Like I care." One way to look at this is that he doesn't consider someone willing to throw away their own life to be worth anything, or possibly doesn't consider them to be a person at all. Discussed by the character himself in Volume 6 with a member of the hive mind, where he argues his own actions were monstrous and she answers, "If the Misakas told you "I don't want to fight anymore"... Would you have stopped?' He seems unsure.
  • Ai Kora: Maeda Hachibei, Chivalrous Pervert whose recklessness and Brutal Honesty gets him in over his head, or a stupid Jerk Ass who can't take no for an answer? Also, there are some fans who believe his "parts love" is less sexual and more like the obsessions of a fanatical art collector.
  • Ai Yori Aoshi: Miyabi Kagurazaki. Is her devotion to and protectiveness of Aoi simply a Mama Bear thing, or a Bodyguard Crush?
  • In the Area 88 manga and OVA, are the mercenaries tormented souls who became soldiers of fortune to escape their tragic pasts? Or are they hypocrites who are using their dark and troubled pasts as cheap excuses to engage in immoral warfare? Or was entering the Asran foreign legion more exciting that just getting therapy for their traumas?
    • Is Shin a reluctant warrior with a heartbreaking backstory, or a jerkass who abandoned his girlfriend and threw away his moral compass in the end?
    • Is Ryoko a beautiful example of undying loyalty and love, or an immature idealist who is loving a shadow? Or a disturbed young woman with a pathological obsession with her absentee boyfriend?
    • Is Saki a patriot who is defending his beloved homeland from his father's predation, or an angry son who would sacrifice his people to lash out at his father? Is he an elitist who refuses to relinquish his power, or a realist who understands why his backwards country is not yet ready for democracy?
    • Is Mickey naturally cheerful and charming, or is his friendliness a mask meant to hide his war trauma, cynicism, and regret?
  • Azumanga Daioh:
    • After a string of Fan-Art pieces made their appearance (like so), Cloudcuckoolander Osaka has been seen as a puroresu goddess by the name of "The Osakan Destroyer" Ayumu Kasuga. Her nickname comes from her finishing move, the running, flipping pile-driver called the Canadian Osakan Destroyer.
    • It's also assumed that Yukari and Nyamo aren't married because they are lesbians (although same-sex marriage isn't performed in Japan, it is recognized, if performed abroad), and possibly together (though it's more often assumed they like each other but are not).
  • Is Kazuo Kiriyama a mass murdering psychopath or did the brain damage he suffer ruin him? The Movie plays up the former by making him a random killer who signed up for the Program while the manga shows he Used to Be a Sweet Kid who lost his mother and brother in the accident that damaged him. In the novel, it's ambiguous since he got the brain damage while in the womb.
  • Quite a lot of characters from Berserk get this, but the obvious example is Griffith: An iredeemable Manipulative Bastard, or a Well-Intentioned Extremist Visionary Villain who believes that Utopia Justifies the Means? Or just a genuine, pretty-decent-but-not-perfect dude whose dream spiralled out of control, as well as being twisted by severe trauma? It's basically the Sliding Scale of Unavoidable vs. Unforgivable with the side question of whether or not Being Tortured Makes You Evil.
  • B Gata H Kei:
    • Yamada - a girl defined by her desire to acquire 100 sex partners by the end of high school. Clearly just a horny slut in an ecchi plot, right? NO - many see her as a "normal" innocent girl being forced into a world she knows nothing of by our over-sexualized post-feminist society.
    • Backed up by the fact that her quest for 100 men comes from a fear that she's weird "down there", i.e. a lack of self-esteem/self-confidence/poor body image.
    • Thanks to character development we see Yamada has more to her than a libido.
    • The concept of a girl (voiced by Nanoha, no less) who has an existent sex drive was too much for some otaku who wrote the show off based on the initial premise.
  • Black Butler's Alois Trancy: psychotically mood-swingy Enfant Terrible who deliberately engineers his innocent moments just to get at Ciel, or love-starved punching bag who simply snapped from his Dark and Troubled Past and is being manipulated by his butler? (To be honest, fangirls would love him either way...)
  • Bleach:
    • Kisuke Urahara: freespirited Trickster Mentor who means well, even if his actions don't seem that all that benevolent at first, or manipulative Sociopathic Hero whom even Ax-Crazy Psychos For Hire like Mayuri consider to be an "unpleasant person."
      • It's noteworthy that revealing that Aizen wasn't actually dead wasn't Kubo's original plan. At first, The Man Behind the Man to Gin was going to be Urahara.
    • Mayuri himself is subject to different interpretations. On one side, maybe he's a crazy Mad Scientist who is willing to do anything to further his research. On the other hand, he may be trying to atone for what he did in the past by helping Uryu now that he knows who he is. A lot of people take the middle road and say he just does whatever he wants while being a rude bastard to everyone around him because he simply likes doing it. And the Third choice: torture victim. For most of the time he's (supposedly?) been committing atrocities he and all potential witnesses were under the influence of somebody who could completely control their perceptions and who'd have had a strong interest in using, interrogating, and (to cover any tracks) breaking the mind of the current Chief of Research and Development. And that's not a short period of time.
    • Even Aizen: Easygoing, God complex-affected tyrant seeking to rule the world(s) through bloody war, or a heavy-handed, genuinely kind Well-Intentioned Extremist merely seeking to unite the worlds through peace, even at the cost of lives?
      • Or from the reader's perspective, is Aizen an Ass Pull happy, faux-profound complexity addict in a universe that seems to conform to random plot twists; or is Aizen a smug jackass who, realizing that his power is hypnosis and he's already very powerful in his own right, largely improvises and then tries to psyche his opponents out with absurd rants and claiming things are the will of the Hougyoku. Or maybe it's just schizophrenia.
    • Gin Ichimaru:
      • As Obviously Evil as he acts, or secretly an undercover agent for good? And does he really have a crush on Rangiku Matsumoto?
      • And what's the true nature of his relationship with Kira Izuru? Were they truly just captain and vice-captain, and Izuru's fragile self-esteem neurotic tendencies, and extreme loyalty coupled with Gin's mind games were enough to push him over the edge, or was there something more going on?
    • Head Captian Yamamoto: Wise, grandfatherly sage, or deranged, senile old douchebag who uses the letter of the law as an excuse for his dickery? More evidence to the latter in the most recent arc, the only times he's involved himself in the battle so far have been to seal off Aizen, Gin and Tosen from interfering, though when Wonderweiss' pet blew out the old man's inferno he did nothing to replace it and to one-shot Allon after the creature nearly killed four Vice-Captains. More recently in the manga he's still not intervening despite the fact Aizen had just decimated the combined Shinigami/Vizard ranks alone despite being confirmed as one of the few individuals who could probably take Aizen in a head-on fight.
    • There's even a lot of this for many of the Espada:
      • Coyote Starrk: Sympathetic but dangerous Anti-Villain who fell in with the wrong crowd, or a blameless Woobie driven by loneliness and the desire to protect his True Companions?
      • Tier Harribel: Cold Dark Action Girl loyal to Aizen, or Mama Bear motivated entirely by a desire to protect her fraccion?
      • Nelliel Tu Odelschwanck: Was she effectively babysitting Nnoitra to stick it to his chauvinist beliefs, or was it due to her feeling obligated to protect a comrade (even if he was a prick)?
      • Ulquiorra Cifer: Dangerous and ruthless Manipulative Bastard that looks down on emotions, or stoic Noble Demon that wants to understand them? Furthermore, does he have Lima Syndrome for Orihime or not? And were his interactions with Orihime a form of psychological torture, or genuine attempts at trying to understand her POV or making her understand his?
      • Nnoitra Gilga: Vile chauvinist lashing out at everyone due to his own inferiority complex, or a man gripped with a deep despair for himself and the world that causes him to see death in battle as his only escape? As for his feelings towards Nel; horribly expressed lust or utter hate? Did he hate her because he felt she was babysitting him out of pity, or was it because she correctly pointed out his Fatal Flaw?
      • Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez: Ax-Crazy Blood Knight that cares only about fighting and killing others for fun, or likable Bad Ass with a chance of helping the heroes?
    • What about Ichigo? Is he a man who truly cares about his friends and will stop at nothing to save them, or has his trauma of his mother's death affected him so much that his need to protect people comes from his own perceived inability to save his mom?
      • Or is he a truly honorable (as opposed to "honorable") and heroic Only Sane Man who is willing to buck the Soul Society to do what's right? A society seen to be horribly backward, unequal and archaic, hidebound to the point of reactionary, and unable to perceive the snakes in its own nest, when it's leadership isn't straight up Lawful Evil.
    • Orihime: There's quite a debate among shippers on whether or not Orihime's unrequited love for Ichigo is innocent and sincere or borderline obsession. Unsurprisingly, the ones who follow the latter are rabid Ulquiorra/Orihime or Ichigo/Rukia fans.
    • Shunsui Kyoraku could, on the basis of what little we know of him up until the Starrk fight, arguably fit under either Obfuscating Stupidity or Crouching Moron Hidden Badass. Or both. He can both genuinely like being a womanizing drunk and still play mind-games with any poor sod unfortunate enough to meet him when he feels obliged to actually fight. The different aspects we see suggested (unlike Starrk, he gets no internal monologue) aren't mutually exclusive, and in a sense the 'unpredictability' is entirely what he claims to be about.
    • Yoruichi Shihoin, though the "alternate" part really only factors into her relationship vis-a-vis Soi Fon, which, despite a good deal of Les Yay teasing from omakes and art both from the author and the anime creators, has not been properly fleshed out, leads to multiple interpretations by the fandom: is she cruelly playing fast and loose with Soi Fon's obvious feelings and leading her on for her own sense of fun, is she aware and simply does not wish to return the feelings but also does not want to burden Soi Fon with rejection, or does she love her but is merely torn between different obligations which cause her to feel she must keep Soi Fon at arm's length?
    • Momo Hinamori: What are her feelings for Toshiro? Romantic or platonic? And Aizen? Infatuation, Undying Loyalty, or plain More Than Mind Control?
      • Interestingly enough, she goes from calling Toshiro "Shiro-chan" when he's still a young boy to "Hitsugaya-kun" (although almost never the "Captain", as he insists) after he gets his Shikai, with the implication that going from First Name Basis to Last Name Basis indicates that she sees him as mature. Does this mean that she's starting to see him as more of an equal (even if he's higher-ranked and more powerful than she is), or if she's going from seeing him as like a kid brother to a possible boyfriend?
    • Does Ryuuken have Uryuu's best interests at heart, wanting to keep him out of a thankless, dangerous lifestyle, and just have a lousy way of showing it? Is he an Abusive Parent? Is he perhaps both? For the Abusive Parent score, it does not help that he has said some egregiously contemptuous and uncaring things to Uryuu and has a history of attempting to police whom his son does and does not have contact with (in as a child Uryuu's grandfather, and as a teenager "Shinigami and their associates", which amounts to pretty much everyone Uryuu knows aside from Ryuuken himself), which in Real Life is a major red flag for abusive behavior. On the other hand, Ryuuken has helped Uryuu when he needed it most (restoring his powers and treating his injuries after Ginjo attacked him) and the events and revelations of the Final Arc have proven that Ryuuken was certainly telling the truth about how much danger his son is in. The "Breaded Eggs" position is more-or-less that Ryuuken did act out of love, and picked what he thought was the least-bad of a crappy set of options: retiring as a Quincy and keeping Uryuu out of the spirit world entirely...but Ryuuken also took dissuading Uryuu MUCH farther than he ever should have. The Despair Event Horizon might have had something to do with that.
    • On the subject of parents, there's Isshin Kurosaki. Is he a well-meaning man who did what he could to prepare Ichigo for the kind of life having spiritual powers would bring him, and who only held back on telling him about his past because he might not be ready to hear it? Or has him keeping so many secrets from Ichigo done nothing more than cause him undue pain, especially since Ichigo usually ends up hearing it from the villains instead? Does he treat his son more like a weapon than a person, encouraging him to put himself in harm's way and only getting involved in his struggles when he absolutely has to, and putting too much trust in Urahara's complex and morally dubious plans? There's also the question of whether his "training" Ichigo by randomly assaulting him is physical abuse, even if Ichigo mostly shrugs it off. Even a couple of the other characters (and Isshin himself) have said that his parenting skills kind of suck. In fact, at one point Isshin suggests that, of the pair of them, Ryuuken's actually the better father, because at least he's honest and consistent about what he wants for his son...as shitty as those expectations may be.
  • Cardcaptor Sakura
    • Tomoyo:
      • Creepy Schoolgirl Lesbian who constantly videotapes her ten-year-old crush and dresses her in fetishy outfits...or poor little rich girl who showers Sakura with gifts and attention, going overboard because she's never really learned how to deal with having friends since other kids her age are either scared off by her bodyguards or only interested in her for her money.
      • And there there's this: Daidouji Tomoyo, Badass
    • Sakura:
      • Is Sakura merely a naive child that fails to notice the infatuations both Tomoyo and Syaoran have for her or deliberately trying to ignore their unsubtle showings of affection (and possibly her own) in fear of ruining her close friendship with them both. While her naivete and ditzy demeanor is pointed out many times over, it is worth noting her dispair when finally forced the face the truth about one of her friend's feelings (and how quickly she decides she feels the same way).
      • Alternatively Sakura is falling in love with Syaoran, just at the same progres rate as himself beforehand. Sakura is EXTREMELY affectionate and blissful around Syaoran, she constantly shows excitment upon his appearance, follows and blushes at him a couple odd occasions. Platonic or romantic, she certainly thinks the world of him. Her scenario is the same as Syaoran's prior to others leaning him towards the former however, both were Oblivious to Love and convinced they were infatuated with another that drawn them in with magic essence. Since Sakura did not get helped in their coupling she is becoming attached to Syaoran by herself (and may have even come to the same conclusion as he did ultimately), just at a more natural progression.
    • Is Syaoran Li an initially arrogant Tsundere gradually softened by Sakura's kindness or a naturally meek and gentle character who hides behind a Jerkass Façade (which he gradually drops as he becomes more confident around his new found friends). Sakura herself notes later on how transparent she has come to realise his harsh demeanor is, after which Syaoran's arrogant attitude towards her more or less completely fades permanently.
    Sakura: Syaoran-kun, you always act like that, but you never mean it.
    Syaoran: Why do you say that?
    Sakura: I know you, Syaoran-kun, you're a kind person.
    *Syaoran blushes bright red*
  • Both of the Fujibayashi sisters in CLANNAD.
    • Ryou - Is she a timid Class Representative who has a crush on Tomoya and can't express herself freely to him or is she a self-centered person who manipulated her own sister into helping her get Tomoya as a boyfriend, knowing that said sister also likes Tomoya.
    • Kyou - Is she a Tsundere in denial of her crush on Tomoya or is she a Manipulative Bitch who used her own sister to get opportunities to get Tomoya to fall in love with her even when he was already dating said sister. Then when she finally hooks Tomoya in, Ryou is left high and dry. Good thing Kappei existed to date Ryou after Kyou hooked Tomoya in.
  • Code Geass:
    • Interpretations of Lelouch Lamperouge range from a troubled revolutionary fighting the good fight but brought down by bad luck, down to an egomaniac Villain Protagonist who manipulates everyone around him and covers it up with a thin veneer of self-deluded ideals, whose karmic backlash was not even half of what he deserved. You can also consider him what happens when Well-Intentioned Extremist is both Deconstructed and taken to its logical extreme.
    • Similarly, interpretations of his best friend Suzaku covers the range from a tragic Knight in Shining Armor with a devotion to a more idealistic view of social change and several tragic losses to back him up, to a hypocritical and cynical Knight Templar who is at best dangerously deluded. The general tendency amongst the fandom seems to be that the more you embrace the romantic view of one character, the more you embrace the negative view of the other. Lelouch's status as a Magnificent Bastard, however, is usually not contested.
    • Nunnally Lamperouge:
      • She seems simple on the surface: The Pollyanna Ill Girl Morality Pet for her big brother. But popular speculation abounds that she uses her almost unbelievable niceness and her condition (which may be less severe than implied or even faked) to manipulate everyone around her. This interpretation, nicknamed "Dark Nunnally", can either be villainous (as the name implies) or well-intentioned (as shown in one fan-comic where she admits to the telepathic Mao that she's faking the whole thing, is completely aware that Lelouch is Zero, and is okay with being his raison d'ętre).
      • The Dark!Nunnally interpretation is supported by three facts: One, it is apparently All There in the Manual that Nunnally's blindness is psychosomatic. Two, a non-canon manga exists in which she obtains a Geass rather than her brother, and it is revealed that she has been suppressing her negative emotions regarding her past and present suffering. Three, there's episode 22 of R2...
    • C.C. Virtuous paragon bringing light and hope to a world desperately in need of a hero; Faustian temptress actively seeking to corrupt the heroes with demonic powers; or a sad little girl who desperately wanted to be loved and was willing to do anything (including sell her soul) to get other people to acknowledge her existence?
    • Charles zi Britannia: Well-intentioned Emperor who can't control the many inbred, parasitic, racist nobles he rules; or a lazy old man who puts his self-stated beloved children not only in harm's way, but also in the middle of a war, who forces many of his third class citizens - that he considers every bit as worthy as his first class citizens - to suffer simply because he can't be bothered killing the treacherous sibling who murdered his favourite wife, and who controls the Secret Guild Of Psychics himself? Not that either of those are good things to be.
    • Mao: Psychotic villain who deserves what he got, or Troubled, but Cute Jerkass Woobie Anti-Villain just trying to save his beloved C.C. from her Death Seeker status. Code Geass Mao Of The Deliverance presents a compelling basis for the latter!
    • Diethard: Smug Snake who joins the Black Knights in order to get closer to his muse Zero and then betrays him to Schneizel when things get dicey before ultimately betraying the Black Knights as well and joining up with Schneizel for good, as he's the new interesting thing, or loyal supporter to Zero who was forced to betray him or be killed alongside him, and only did so in the end because the situation was beyond salvation, and decided that without Zero he would no longer follow the cause of the Black Knights and joined the only other person who he was intrigued with, only to tragically be killed by his new idol at the orders of his old idol, who considers him not even worth finishing off himself.
  • Detective Conan:
    • Shinichi Kudo from Detective Conan? Genius, or selfish, immature Jerk Ass who places himself above the others and doesn't really get the meaning of death and for whom each dead person is nothing but challenge?
    • Kogoro Mouri has been interpreted as having actually figured out Conan is actually solving the crimes for him and after awhile, just let him solve it for him while he receives the credit for it. Kogoro already isn't a bad detective; he's just got an extreme case of Tunnel Vision and wants things to be done as fast as possible, so he'll come to one conclusion a detective would, but then insist he's right until proven wrong. Whenever Ran or Conan are threatened, he actually becomes scarily competent. (Kinda like Inspector Gadget whenever he knows Penny & Brain are threatened) There have been several other times where he actually got it mostly right, and several times where he solved the case and only needed a couple hints from Conan, or in one occasion, not only solved it but got a couple details that Conan missed. (It also helps that he tends to be more streetsmart while conan is more booksmart - Kogoro has more insight into peoples' emotions)
  • Digimon:
    • It used to be that every time you turned around in Digimon fandom, someone had come up with a new interpretation of Ken's psyche.
    • Arukenimon: cold-natured heartless bitch, or secret Kuudere who is reluctant to reveal her true feelings for Mummymon?
    • Mimi: spoiled, sheltered, naive, exasperating in-verse ditz...or a master troll? Seriously. Watch Adventure from the beginning, and it's amazing how much more sense her character makes if her every word and action comes from the desire to make her friends facepalm. She has no pity, teams up with Sora occasionally (who catches on and enjoys joining in to a less extreme level), and is recognized and disapproved of by resident buttmonkey Jou. Bonus points for the sheer irony of her receiving the Crest of Sincerity. Extra bonus points since Tai's out of the loop and makes statements about how sincere and innocent she is. Mimi could be a sadistic genius.
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • Son Goku is a true hero who always tries to do what's best even if it occasionally spills over into true stupidity... or he's a selfish, childish, Jerk Ass who cares about martial arts, eating, and everything else in that order. (Everything else includes his wife and two children.) He could also be a noble but childish (and maybe brain-damaged — Raditz did mention the possibility) man who cares deeply about his friends, the World and the Universe, and who is in fact stupid. The entire reason he's not evil and killing everyone is that he fell off a cliff and smashed his head on a rock. It is also possible that Goku may not be as stupid as one assumes when looking at him. At least, not for a guy who suffered head trauma and a very sheltered life. Keep in mind that Grandpa Gohan died before he could teach him everything, so he had to learn a lot of stuff by himself...and Bulma had to teach him. In particular, basic social skills and hygiene. Once he's confronted with something new, he learns it quickly. Even the social skills and hygiene he took quite well, being a loveable friendly guy, more than even his friends; and he could have even better social skills if he chose to live in the city. His fast learning and creativity is mostly seen in his fighting. The best example is his learning the Kamehameha wave, a move that took fifty years to develop, by mere observation. Also, he finds effective enhancements to the move, such as bending it, putting at least five times greater power to it, firing it with his feet, etc. Even combat skills he has brilliance in. Even confronted with Tien growing extra arms, he moved his so fast that it looked like he sprouted eight and fought him that way. All in all, Goku was smarter than Bulma in only one respect...basic survival skills in the wilderness.
    • There's also Goku’s wife, Chichi. Is she a crazy nut who's just waiting to finally snap? Or is she an overstressed Tsundere and mother having the only natural reactions to the trauma she's been put through? Or an overprotective Mama Bear who should have thought about what she wanted for her children's future BEFORE she married a martial artist alien whose idea of a career is training with Master Roshi?
    • Despite Characters like Mr. Popo, Killa, and Agent Black, Piccolo is viewed by many fans as being the surrogate Black Character. The fact that the actual black characters range from somewhat unfortunate to downright offensive might have something to do with it. It also helps that he fits Scary Black Man quite well.
    • Vegeta gets some of this as well. He's either seen as a misunderstood soul who was forced to commit many murderous acts. Or a selfish, unrepentant jerkass who shouldn't have been forgiven easily.
  • This seems to be happening more and more in the Durarara!! fandom now, particularly in regards to Izaya Orihara. Since Izaya's a lying liar who lies, it's hard to take anything he says seriously in the first place. This is not helped by the fact that we never know what he's thinking and his permanent expression is only Technically a Smile, which is generally written as a 'smile to hide his emotions'. The fandom is divided in their opinions about him. Is he a hedonistic, sociopathic Manipulative Bastard who only does things For the Evulz and doesn't give a damn about anyone - not even his own family or Shinra? Or is he a sympathetic loner who just wants to know what true feelings are, genuinely cares for his family, and his desire to create Ragnarok should be pitied, because he's only like that since he's 'lonely'? And for that matter, what are his real thoughts about Shinra? Did Izaya really become an informant because of that incident in middle school, or for his own benefits? Is Izaya really trying to avenge Shinra, or is he just using it as an excuse so he can have someone (Nakura) to use?
    • There are also many fans that seem to genuinely think his inherent hate for Shizuo means that he sees Shzuo on a higher level than all his precious humans and therefore, secretly loves him. Despite Word of God saying otherwise on many an occasion.
    • That goes for Shizuo too, apparently.
    • Lately, partly due to No Export for You, Mikado of all people is getting this.
  • In Elfen Lied, this applies to every single diclonius, especially Lucy. One can interpret their murder sprees as innate genetic drives to wipe out the human race, desperate attempts to protect themselves from the sadistic xenophobia of the human race, or a simple genetic predisposition towards certain kinds of mental disorders. Or all the Diclonius are simply children who happen to get incredibly effective and deadly weapons at a young age without discipline or skill in using them. Thus, whenever they get angry or frightened, somebody's going to get chopped. After living with that a while and being hunted with proverbial torches and pitchforks, anybody's worldview would be rather bleak.
  • Are the Homunculi of Fullmetal Alchemist simply the horrible results of centuries of child abuse at the hands of creator who never gave them a proper upbringing and never showed them any love?
    • Envy is a particularly significant case due to the EdxEnvy pairing. Especially in High School AUs, he's been painted as hyper and crazy, homicidal, suicidal, sad, crazy, a rapist, a victim, popular, unpopular - in fact, the only thing that seems to remain the same is his femininity and that he is definitely not normal. Beauty and the Beast: Edvy 100 Themes is chock full of this - for all that it's an Edvy collection, in one story he'll be hunting Ed down ruthlessly and in the next he'll be abandoning him for his own good.
  • Full Metal Panic!:
    • There are even in-depth debates on Sousuke's "true" character. Namely, when he joined Kalinin in the organization in the past, had Kalinin been working for Amalgam instead of Mithril, would he just continue to "follow orders" and kill indiscriminately? Or is he actually truly a "nice boy at heart," and would his true, kind nature from when he was 2-3 years old eventually show through? Is he truly such an oblivious dunce that has no clue whatsoever that so many people are lusting after him? Or perhaps he's actively turning up his obliviousness due to intimacy issues? Maybe the reason why the Power of Trust gets his heart fluttering and makes him so incredibly flustered is because he himself finds it near impossible to place complete trust in others, and therefore values it so much when he receives it from others?
    • In-universe, Kalinin's interpretation is that Sousuke is a lamb raised among wolves, and thus forced to become one; toddler Sousuke was a curious and happy child who called him "An-oji", post assassin-school Sousuke is a hardened killer. The glimpses Kaname has of the other world, where Sousuke is a shy and gentle boy, support this.
    • As for the love-related issues, the novels show that he is simply terribly inexperienced (even on a purely theoretical level), and quite possibly has never been given as much as a passing advice (from someone who was not Kurz), let alone an education on such matters (beyond say, the many ways prostitues can be used in assassination plots, and how it would be best to stay away from such frivolities altoghether). The extent of his knowledge is related to his instincts (which usually confuse him, but seem to be working quite normally), and also the strictly social aspects of marriage, which he learned in a Muslim country (how many sheeps/camels is Mao worth should Kurz choose to seriously pursue her?). That said, he does seem to have some basic understanding of the word "sex", once Kurz decides he needs to spell it out for him (he even compares Kurz's bragging to a man having a feast versus a starving man — Sousuke himself, feeling that this is something that he wants, even he doesn't fully comprehend it. Also, he kisses Kaname first in the last novel. Gently, but passionately.) He also understands enough of Gauron's intentions to protest that "It can't possibly feel good!" in the TSR Radio Comedy Show.
  • Fushigi Yuugi: Nakago, genuinely pitiable Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds with a tragic past which makes his actions understandable, or beyond all redemption who just enjoys author bias?
  • Girls und Panzer
    • Erika's mean-spiritedness toward Miho is sometimes indicated as the result of an unrequited love for Maho. She even comes off as a Jerkass Woobie in some fan comics about this.
    • Sodoko is often portrayed as a Tsundere toward Mako, whom she continually nags about her chronic lateness, and one alternate interpretation along those lines is that she cares about Mako and doesn't want to see her get held back.
    • Maho Nishizumi's secret support for Miho. Is it simply a selfless sacrifice for her younger sister, or does she have an imoutou complex?
    • While many conclude that Miho's mother Shiho's plans to disown her are simply proof that she judges Miho only by her ability to live up to her family's standards, others believe that if Miho is disowned, Shiho is essentially doing her a favor by freeing her from the family's standards. Shiho's reasons and motivation for sighing in resignation and clapping for Miho after she defeats maho in the finals are also under interpretation.
    • Kuromorimine. Is it a school full of tankers who see it as their calling in life to crush "weak" teams and value victory over fun? Or are they arguably no worse than most in that attitude, with Erika a Token Evil Teammate of sorts? The fact that Maho, their commander, is ultimately motivated by sisterly love, can be interpreted as her hiding her true nature to fit in, or proof that most Kuromorimine tankers are decent people at heart.
  • Mimi Kitagami, protagonist of the obscure shoujo anime Gokujou!! Mecha Mote Iinchou: Is she a genuinely nice girl (bordering on Mary Sue) who genuinely wants to help the girls of her school, a shallow Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who only cares about beauty, or a Stepford Smiler?
  • Ryuichi Sakuma from Gravitation is well-known for his shifting between the innocent, hyper buddy and the serious, suave singer. Some fans treat his dual behavior as a case of multiple personality disorder. Others interpret his singer persona as the real Ryuichi, who deliberately acts naive and childish off-stage to give the public an image they can relate to more than his actual aloof self. (Face it, having the true persona be the innocent hyper buddy defies known psychology.)
  • Guilty Crown has some - Shu is suspected for having aspergers syndrome and Inori of having some unknown, serious social issues.
  • In Gundam:
    • Let's start with the one and only Char. Manipulative bastard? Disillusioned extremist? Heartless warmonger? Does anyone but Tomino really know?
      • Add smug rapist to the list, courtesy of the inimitable Yoshikazu Yasuhiko.
      • Char's buddy Garma Zabi is the source of a canon ACI. In the original series he's generally a good guy who's maybe a little out of his depth but ultimately wants to prove that he deserves his position of leadership and didn't just earn it because his dad is in charge. The updated retelling Gundam: The Origin, however, paints Garma as a Spoiled Brat who cried to Big Brother Dozle about how Char was upstaging him and that he wanted an important job so he could show how great he was, and then proceeded to be a complete Neidermeyer who only cared about his own image.
    • Jerid Massah. A self loving overly confident bastard? Or a sad loser who gets used and betrayed and kicked over and over by life and everyone?
    • 08th MS Team's Ginias Sakhalin. He can be viewed as everything from a Tragic Villain to even a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds.
    • Very good examples are Mobile Suit Gundam Wing's main antagonists. Is Treize The Chessmaster who planned every thing within the series to happen as it did including his own death? Or was his intention to rule the world with force and therefore manipulate everyone even those closest to him? Zechs Merquise is the chivalrous knight who does not want to fight and longs for only peace. To others he's a born fighter who seeks battle and sees no purpose in a life without wars. (Though, the sequel movie answers some things discussions are still ongoing.)
    • After War Gundam X has its antagonist as well. Are the Frosts poor unwanted people who seek righteous revenge on those denying them? Or are they warmongers who try to destroy humanity because of their hurt ego?
    • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED is full of them. One of the most discussed: Fllay Alster. I won't even start the different views various people have of her. Also, some consider Lacus a manipulative bitch trying to reach her (entirely good) goals with all means neccessary. Also Kira's self righteousness is often considered over the top even if he is Jesus.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam 00 is pretty clear with most characters, but Nena Trinity invokes the most radical of opinions. Let's say either you hate her with a burning passion or sympathize with her as a tragic victim of circumstance. Ali al-Saachez is either regarded as a monster since he lives only to kill and fight in wars because he can or as a Colonel Badass for his ability to fight the Gundam Meisters, most of the time with inferior machinery. Graham Aker got this in the second season when he took the guise "Mr. Bushido". Either you viewed him as a Samurai who fights for only his honor or as a Jerk Ass who fights for no real reason whatsoever. And, then there's Regene Regetta: childish prankster, ambitious megalomaniac mastermind, or well-intentioned schemer intent on helping his twin brother Tieria advance the human race?
  • The Claw in GUN×SWORD: Well-Intentioned Extremist, Omnicidal Maniac, or senile old man who has no idea what he plans to do? The series supports all three of these possibilities.
  • In Guyver:
    • The brave and self sacrificing Proto-Zoaloard Masaki Murakami gave his life to stop Chronos. Or so he said, he did indeed give his life to stop the traitor Richard Guyot from usurping Archanfel's power. A year later and he's filled in Guyot's position, power and is now Imakarum and now against Sho Fukamachi, the hero of the story. Imakarum explains that his eyes have been open and will show no mercy to Sho. Most of the characters have determined he's been brain washed. However if one considers that perhaps Archanfel just might have been pulling the strings all along that Imakarum may have been a hidden agent in stopping Guyot. It would certa hor explain A LOT of things that Takaya did not make clearer. Such as how a prototype like Murakami survived for so long. It's pretty scary that a lot of things add up.
    • Is Archanfel a hero fighting for humanity the only way he can, a villian with a God complex, or a hero that lost his way. He kills the first Guyver out of loyalty to his creators and to stop him from killing zoanoids, okay understandable. He saves the Earth after the Creators betray and abandon humanity and throw a planetoid at us, yay. He concocts a scheme to get revenge on Uranus by uniting humanity and having it wage a war against aliens, alright. Then he goes through with the scheme by brainwashing humans, killing them when experiments fail, mutating them agianst their will, and destroying the nation states of the world, What the Hell, Hero??! He couldn't have told humanity about any of this, asked people if they wanted to become zoanoids, or got elected Emperor of Humanity because he saved the planet and is offering the human race a future as rulers of the universe? Given his previous actions it just seems like he got real jaded after awhile.
    • Similarly, Agito Makishima: Well-Intentioned Extremist who opposes Chronos' tyranny, or simply a tyrant himself? Recent events seem to point to the later.
  • It's not clear whether Alucard of Hellsing is a vile monster rejoicing in bloody slaughter that he himself precipitates while attempting to corrupt his master, a Death Seeker cursed with immortality and hoping to get closer to The Grim Reaper, or a man hoping to repent for his many past sins. Or all three, or none of the above. Arthur Hellsing says In-Universe that it's the second.
  • Higurashi no Naku Koro ni:
    • Is Watanagashi-hen version of Shion a typical Yandere or an unlucky girl with thorn in heart because her true love has been taken away from her, or Wide-Eyed Idealist that couldn't stand out living in Crapsack World and just has to snap sooner or later, an immature girl unaware of her actions consequences until it's to late, or just girl that never been loved by anyone and her actions were desperate cry for help? Was her The Pollyanna face only a mask to hide her longing or would she fully recover from loss if she had never meet Keiichi. Or everything at the same time?
    • Also - are Dr. Irie's jokes about his Lolicon tendencies only jokes, or something more....
    • Rika is ripe for this. Is she a poor, innocent girl trapped in an endless game she can't escape from, or is she a selfish (indirect) mass-murderer who will make everyone else suffer for her own happiness. Umineko no Naku Koro ni's Bernkastel is essentially the second interpretation given form. This is conveyed well in the arguably Better Than Canon Silly Hat work seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYRRY66qDC4&playnext_from=TL&videos=tOyUCuaftgs. Although even she could be given an alternate interpretation as a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds.
  • InuYasha:
  • Justy Ueki Tylor — Genius tactician and employer of Obfuscating Stupidity, or just plain lucky idiot? This debate was cultivated in-show.
    • The greatest ammo the "genius" camp have is one episode where he agrees to be serious for a while — he suddenly becomes an inspirational and incredibly effective captain. Additionally, when he is brainwashed into acting more naturally, he is very perceptive and able to read into Wang's plans instantly..
    • On the flip side, a couple of his plans don't even make sense if you assume he is a genius and some of his actions wouldn't fit into the Obfuscating Stupidity argument.
  • One could think that Yasuna, from Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl, falls in love with Tomari near the end of the manga, due to a number of moments and reactions after they make a friendship truce after Yasuna faints.

  • Kill la Kill
    • The finale has caused a lot of bickering over whether any of the ships were made canon. On one hand, Mako asks Ryuko on a date and straight up kisses her; Gamagoori is shown with a bouquet of flowers during the epilogue, implying that they're about to confess to someone — very likely Mako — but the episode ends without showing who they gave them to, if they successfully make their intentions known, if that person fully accepts the gesture or not, or even if the flowers were meant to be given romantically.
    • A similar function also happens with Ragyo, specifically her death and the motives thereof. Did she kill herself just for the hell of it, rather than take the redemption offered, or was death her redemption?
  • Lucky Star has a few.
    • Like does Kagami like Konata?
    • Does Konata suffer from the same illness as her mom? Is her mouth a deformity?
    • Is Miyuki completely Japanese?
    • Is Tsukasa secretly evil?
    • Does Nanako like Yui, if so does she even know it?
    • Ayano:
      • Oddly she has a few, mostly involving her relationship with Misao . Does Ayano really have a boyfriend? If she doesn't, is she hiding it because she likes Misao? Is Misao her girlfriend then, if so does she act like a boyfriend when in public? Or is she oblivious to her friends crush? Does she harbor feelings for Ayano?
      • Given she's a common target for Comedic Sociopathy and seems to have an inferiority complex, one wonders if Tsukasa might wind up as the group Yandere or Cute Psycho, or even worse, as something like Shinji. At the very least, she may be a Type A Stepford Smiler.
    • This fanfic portrays Miyuki's personality as nothing more than an act. Her real self, portrayed through inner dialogue, is a bit of a bitch. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Miyuki Takara, Grand Dragon Master of the Five Seasonal Winds!
    • Fans also have Kurokona, a deconstruction of Konata's Otaku Surrogate tendencies, portraying her disheveled with black hair, pale skin, glasses for bad eyesight after hours of video games and an isolated, bored and depressed demeanor. Many have theorized this is what could happen in Konata if she didn't have her friends.
  • Macross Frontier has two in-universe examples in the form of Grace O'Connor. In the TV show Grace is an outright villain, manipulating Sheryl and Ranka for her own goals of controlling the Vajra and taking over the Galaxy. In the movie its revealed that she, like Brera, is only being controlled by Galaxy's implants against her will, and she actually deeply cares for Sheryl.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha:
  • Mahou Sensei Negima!:
    • While many of the villains count, an unusual case would have to be Konoka Konoe. Some Fan Fiction depicts her as The Ditz and Cheerful Child; others lean towards her being incredibly sly to almost Chess Master level. It can be hard to tell whether she's a Genius Ditz or just watching the others calmly and quietly while behaving childish when she's mature inside. She's almost never been given a thought bubble in the 275-chapter course of the series, which makes things all the more confusing, which justifies the fanfiction authors' confusion. We may get some idea of what goes on in her head in one of the later chapters, when we get to see her fantasy of an ideal world vis a vis Cosmo Entelechaia. In it, she's a child playing with child-Setsuna. Setsuna's fantasy is noticeably more... adult.
    • While the differences are less dramatic, Evangeline in the same series can be interpreted in different ways, since she's a literal go master to begin with. On one axis, she's somewhere between "villain past her prime who's being slowly subjugated to the effects of Defeat Means Friendship" and "always was a Noble Demon who simply grew up in a rough place and needed a vicious reputation for protection." On an independent axis, she could be an eternally spoiled little girl whose Villain Ball and Stalker with a Crush behavior got her Brought Down to Normal and staring into space for fifteen years until Negi "rescued" her... or an accomplished Chessmaster Go Master and Stealth Mentor and the prime mover behind most major events of the last thirty or so years, with her current position and relationships exactly what she wanted all along. Enough of Eva's surface personality is arguably fake that any point in that plane could be the real her.
      • Now with the advent of the sequel, UQ Holder, all three are now more supported, seeing as Evangeline is now freed and shows (at least in the introduction pages) some amount of sadness/apathy about the passage of time leaving her alone in the world. The stealth mentor aspect especially now has immense support, as well as the Chessmaster aspect, but it is unlikely that she has guided events, seeing as her large bounty is still in effect, and as Negi's influence on the world is very apparent.
  • A few from Mai-HiME
    • The Blu-Ray special shows sides of Reito that were never seen before, such as him having a devious smile when it appears that Mai has lost interest in Yuuichi, and anger when he's tricked into burying himself in the sand so the Hi ME can feed him spicy food in revenge for the carnival. This may suggest that hosting the Obsidian Lord may have had some impact on his personality, if such traits were not there all along.
    • There is the possibility that Shizuru was mind-controlled or somehow Brainwashed during her rampage, as her personality was the most dramatically altered of all the "antagonist" Hi ME, she once appears with what appear to be Mind-Control Eyes, and immediately after coming back to life, she breaks down crying and apologizes to Natsuki, which might indicate she only just realized what she had done.
  • Was Nina of Mai-Otome a hard-working and dutiful girl who ended up as an enemy as a result of being from the wrong country, following the duties of an Otome and the love of her father being used to guarantee her obedience? Or was she always obsessively pursuing her father, seeing her Otome career as a means to that end?
  • Johan Liebert. Is he truly heartless? Or is he just broken? Or is he heartless because he was broken?
    • And, even if he represents one of the latter two, can he still be exonerated for his actions or has he crossed the Moral Event Horizon one too many times? Tenma (and Nina) ultimately decide on the former, in spite of everything, but the viewers are left to ponder on it themselves.
  • Naruto:
    • Sasuke: Emotionally unstable teenager seeking justified revenge? Selfish traitor? Or secretly undermining the bad guys from inside?
      • Or, as his rant to the resurrected Itachi hints a traumatized boy who feels guilty for surviving when his family didn't and wants to die?
      • On the subject of Sasuke, there's his original Face-Heel Turn when he defected to Orochimaru. Did he abandon his friends because he felt they were making him weak as he claimed; or was it because he felt as if he was betraying the memory of his family by forming new bonds?
    • One can see the Hyuga main family as jealously guarding its power against the branch relatives and promoting infighting, or the branch family as being jealous and presumably no better than the head family were one of their own number to take leadership. This may not apply to Neji, considering that his grievances with the head family were mainly based around what happened to his father, and he's willing to get along with them after learning the truth. Hanabi, Hinata's younger sister is usually characterised accordingly in fanfiction, depending on the writer's intent.
    • Itachi. His motives have been questionable since his first appearance, and after certain revelations the fandom has found a million ways to interprete his behaviour.
    • Naruto's interaction with Sasuke is definitely subject to this.
      • Is it the effort of a good friend who sees, unlike his compatriots, that Sasuke is not beyond redemption and that redeeming him is key to breaking the cycle of violence in the Narutoverse? . . . Or is it the desperate act of a deluded fool, a boy who refuses to grow up and face the fact that difficult choices are sometimes called for among ninjas, a boy whose lonely, dejected childhood has left him with an unhealthy attachment to someone who has openly threatened his home and other friends?
      • Then let's add some more fuel to the fire: Is Naruto just a completely immature kid who can't take the world's reality, despite the fact he wants to be a leader to a nation, and a rather unscrupulous one at that, if you consider what they are willing to do to keep themselves on top or because they're simply afraid. If you take all heroism and Messiah Prophecies, Naruto is just a immature brat who wants people's attention and got in a war he doesn't understand the beginning or end of it and wants to achieve peace, despite the fact such thing would render the whole point of his life as a ninja worthless(No War = No Need for Super Soldier Ninjas). Also, he is the weapon the village wanted: Completely Loyal, despite the fact few people like him, Powerful, althought not powerful or intelligent enough to turn on his masters, and has the talent for converting people to see things his way or The village's way. He does have a talent for getting people to follow what he says, no matter just how fairy tale-esque it all sounds. One could think of him as a Brainwashing Machine even!
    • The Leaf Village! It can be A) A Nation of strong Ninja who believe in union and Peace, B) A Power-Hungry Nazi-esque Empire who wants to control the world and everyone in it, C) A Self-Centered and Bigot Nation who has so many people wanting to kill them it's hard to even think of them as innocent, D) A Village filled with Hippie-esque delusional fools. E)Mostly good people who have difficulty accepting those who are different or who they think might be a threat. The way they act and the things they believe has shades of all these. And most fanfic writers go for B, C and D options most of time if they're going for Dark Fics or just Naruto becoming independent.
    • The Uchiha Clan. Despite few individuals being shown from the clan, most fans interpret the clan as being filled with power-hungry bastards that deserved their deaths. Curiously, Mikoto(Sasuke's Mom) is usually exempted of this (Mostly because they think she's hot and is a popular pairing with Naruto), along with Itachi because of Draco in Leather Pants.
      • Alternatively, since Mikoto seemed to be friends with Kushina, it might suggest that there were at least some who wanted to remain loyal to the village, but in response to (perceived or actual) threat of being persecuted for their supposed role in the Nine-Tailed Fox's attack, they decided to rebel.
      • Power-hungry bastards, or the sad end result of generations of war wiping out all the most emotionally stable members of a clan Blessed with Suck by a powerset that combines the worst parts of Power Born of Madness and With Great Power Comes Great Insanity, combined with ninja paranoia about keeping bloodline powers proprietary limiting the outbreeding that could dilute their hereditary cases of Love Makes You Crazy and Evil?
    • Madara Uchiha: One of the worst villains in manga history, or a senile Tyke Bomb who knows nothing but clan warfare?
      • Or neither. He's self-centered but by no means the worst even in Naruto. Nothing ever goes his way and he throws a tantrum, and now he's trying to force the world to acknowledge him as the god he believes himself to be.
    • Kabuto Yakushi, although this is probably on purpose: a Chronic Backstabbing Disorder who was waiting for the chance to kill Orochimaru himself for power when Sasuke did it for him, a man who saw Orochimaru as a God, went crazy at his death and integrated his remains into his own body, or a man who joined the first person who gave him some sympathy because he had nothing left to lose?
    • Is the Fourth Raikage an honorable, just leader who cares for his loved ones and is the right person to lead the alliance? Or is he hypocritical in seeking retribution for those who wrong him while forgetting his and his subordinates own misdeeds? And did he order the kidnapping of the three-year-old Hinata, was he trying to cover it up, or was he unaware of what one of his subordinates tried to do?
    • Jiraiya. Is he a man who stayed away for Naruto's own good while secretly helping him from behind the scenes? A lazy pervert who abandoned his own Godson to peep on naked women and only connected with him because of an accident? Or does he secretly nurse a hatred for Naruto for being the cause of his beloved student Minato's death?
      • Yet another interpretation is as a result of viewing himself a Failure Hero who only realized at the end of his life that he actually did some good by teaching Naruto, is that he didn't believe he could adequately help Naruto.
    • Kakashi Hatake is similar to Jiraiya. Is he a man who stayed away from Naruto to focus on Sasuke, a boy who was much like him at that age? Or is he a man with a guilt complex who abandoned his sensi's son because he secretly thinks he's responsible for the death's of all the important people in his life?
      • Alternatively, he chooses to help Sasuke because he's in the most danger at that point (Gaara presents a danger to his life, while Orochimaru presents a danger to his integrity and moral character). Naruto was far less likely to get killed by Neji (who, at worst, considers him a loser who can be beaten easily) or go down a dark path like revenge.
    • Obito Uchiha. Is his hatred against the world just a tantrum after his crush died? Or did her death make him realize how unjust a world is when people need to be sacrificed for others happiness?
  • Neo Human Casshern: Is Casshern a righteous youngman who gave up his humanity (and thus, his identity as Tetsuya Azuma) for justice, and genuinely wants to save the world? Or a celf-sentered jerk whose only reason to become a Neo-Human was to avenge his dog Lucky and (later) save his parents? Or is he traumatized by the fact it is his father who unwillingly became the architect of mankind's doom, and thus all his acts are wrath-driven, as some kind of psychotic atoner? Depending on the Writer, Casshern is all these AT THE SAME TIME. Need a drink?
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • Shinji Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion can be seen as a Tragic Hero, a powerful hero willing to put his life on the line to protect humanity but crippled by some severe psychological trauma; a Designated Hero, a pansy who's unwilling to take risks until the fate of humanity is on the line; a deconstruction of The Kid with the Remote Control, the usual sort of protagonist of Humongous Mecha anime.
    • Asuka Langley Sohryu can be seen like The Woobie and a Broken Ace who suffers of Inferiority Superiority Complex, masks her huge insecurities, neurosis and abandonment issues behind a front of false arrogance, and pushes everybody away because she thinks nobody would love her if they knew her real self, or they just would hurt her right like her parents, hurting herself further with it, but she is still a brave hero risks her life for the humanity and for giving her life some worth and got mind-raped and awfully murdered by it... or like a bratty, loudmouthed, conceited Jerkass... or like an Expy from Tetsuya Tsurugi and a deconstruction of the Hotblooded Ace Pilot, right like he was.
    • Some believe that Yui Ikari wasn't as innocent — or sane — as she appeared at first glance. After all, she was involved with GEHIRN (the proto-NERV) before she met Gendo Rokubungi. She deliberately arranged for Shinji to see her during the test that caused Eva Unit 1 to absorb her; and judging from her dialogue in End of Evangelion, that may not have been an accident. She may or may not be confirmed as a mastermind near the end of the movie; someone should check and change this.
    • Yui being the mastermind of almost everything in the entire series seems to be the most accepted fanon out there among the Eva fans. What people debate is whether she anticipated Gendo going crazy after she 'died' and trying anything to get her back.
    • Gendo a lunatic who doesn't care for anything or anyone, or simply a desperate lonely man who badly wants to save his love? What does he really want? Does he want to resurrect Yui no matter what? Reunite with instrumentality? Reshape it in his own image? Damn the world because he's pissed?
    • Is Rei a real person like Shinji thinks, or is she a less than human blasphemy like Dr. Akagi thinks? Is Kaji a lovable tramp who only wants to help Misato, or is he evil and only in it for personal gain?
    • Kaworu Nagisa: an Angel redeemed who gave up his own existence for Shinji? Or a monster just human enough to understand cruelty, manipulating Shinji's feelings to try to succeed and then lashing out in a psychological attack to make his destruction a Pyrrhic Victory?
    • Gendo Ikari: a Magnificent Bastard who's manipulating everyone for the entire series? Or just someone who's made one relatively simple plan and had a lot of things work out in his favor? Did he plan to implement Instrumentality for the good of mankind, for some other reason, or was it just because he wanted to see Yui again? Is he really as bad as people think he is? Maybe he's just a deeply flawed person trying to save his Morality Chain of social relationships, as the few glimpses in his past make it seem similar to Shinji's present.
    • Seele: Monsters trying to become gods? Trying to help out humanity through Instrumentality? Or are they just crazy cultists?
  • One Piece:
    • Luffy:
      • He may just pretend to be dumber than a rock because he likes to challenge himself, as evidenced by a number of overly convenient flashes of insight. The marine commodore Smoker even calls him out on this at one point. Luffy's reaction? A mysterious smile.
      • He's the grandson of a famous Vice Admiral and the son of a widely feared revolutionary leader. He's also the adoptive brother of one of the strongest pirate in the world's right hand men. Some of their intelligence must have made its way down to him. His "stupidity" often resembles an inability to focus. Maybe Luffy just has ADD?
      • On the other hand, Luffy does make mistakes at critical points, including when the lives of his friends are on the line, such as when he seems ready to start a fight with the Drum Island militia even while Nami is deathly ill, or attacking Blackbeard while trying to go after Ace on his way out of Impel Down.
      • During the Impel Down breakout, Luffy rejects Crocodile's offer of help because of what he did to Vivi's country. Was he disgusted at the death and destruction Crocodile caused, or was he just angry at the guy for messing with one of his friends?
    • Zoro: Hard-boiled Bad Ass who simply keeps his promises, or a Heartbroken Badass who still longs for his long gone best friend?
    • Blackbeard: eventual Big Bad who's a deliberate Evil Counterpart to Luffy, or a disturbing presentation of what piracy truly is and a deliberate send-up of the real Blackbeard?
    • Kuma: A guy just doing his job? Or a Chessmaster Stealth Mentor for the Straw Hats?
      • It turns out that he is part of the Revolutionary Army, and has been slowly roboticized, even his brain, but managed to get programmed with a "mission" to protect the Straw Hats' ship. Franky says they owe him a great debt, but the next time they meet, they will be enemies.
    • Crocodile in the Marineford Arc: is he in the process of pulling a Heel-Face Turn? Is he using the situation solely to his advantage to rise in the ranks of pirates once again? Is he projecting his one-sided rivalry against Whitebeard on Luffy, or is he going to become Piccolo to Luffy's Goku? Or maybe he's just doing it for the lulz?
    • Hancock: Is she naturally Tsun Tsun or Dere Dere? Is she a cold-hearted woman who only spares kindness for Luffy, or a nice woman who tends to go a bit nuts when Luffy's in danger?
    • Doflamingo: Does he see his subjects as pawns, or does he truly care for them?
      • Recent events in the manga indicate that it's the former, as he threatens to kill them all once his toy transformation scheme was revealed unless they help him catch his enemies.
  • Pokémon:
    • Jessie, James and Meowth in the anime are prone to this, due to their Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain status and well-developed backstories. Depending on which section of the fandom you ask, they're one of these: A) criminals who are loved because they're so bad; B) a trio of bumbling misfits who happen to look cool; C) tragically misunderstood woobies; or D) a trio of rebels who are capable of being good but like being bad too much to do a complete Heel-Face Turn. Arguments over which portrayal is most accurate can lead to much Fan Wank. That their niceness or meaness changes Depending on the Writer doesn't help. More specifically, Meowth could be just as bumbling and incompetent as the other two; he could be a smart but conflicted villain who gets constantly dragged down by his desire to be be a good guy; or he could be a mastermind with enough smarts to learn Japanese (or English, for the dub) with a completely inhuman mouth and invent all sorts of scientifically improbable devices, and who pretends he wants to replace Giovanni's Persian cat-Pokémon because it makes him look incompetent.
    • There's also speculation that Jessie, James, and Meowth aren't villains, but deep cover heroes using the guise of incompetence to subtly influence Ash into becoming a better Trainer, and herding him into the right places to do good. Considering their motto used to start off with "To protect the world from devastation", this doesn't seem all that farfetch'd.
    • Pikachu:
      • In the first episode of Pokémon, Ash Ketchum's Pikachu is a complete Jerkass to Ash until Ash's attempt at a Heroic Sacrifice earns his respect. He later has an instant liking for Ash's new unwanted travelling companion Misty. The moment Misty receives the bike she's owed and leaves, what does Pikachu do? Destroy another girl's bike. And after she leaves? YET ANOTHER girl's bike. He has NO INTEREST WHATSOEVER in the advances of Dawn's Buneary... Perhaps Pikachu's interests lie elsewhere? Especially considering that his jerkass tendencies never show themselves again. (Also, there's a line in the Japanese theme song about looking for Pokémon inside a girl's skirt, and Pikachu happens to run beneath a Lass's skirt in the corresponding shot.)
      • Part of the fandom is still holding onto the theory that Pikachu is female. The "reveal" episode has it falling for a female Togepi's attract. Does Pikachu have unknown Bisexual interests? Was its interest in Togepi related to it's parental affections toward Togepi? Was it just a case of Even the Girls Want Her? Is it a Transsexual? Pikachu is quite masculine at times, and uses "Boku". Maybe that means something?
    • The Pokémon franchise has a lot of canonical Alternate Character Interpretation, considering the number of Alternate Continuities that exist. Compare May from the anime with Sapphire from Pokémon Special. Despite being polar opposites, they are both based on the same character from the original games.
    • The same also applies to Cilan. His video game counterpart has no confidence when facing the player character and his anime counterpart is rather loud in comparison. Additionally, his anime counterpart is driven farther with what Burgundy states about him and how in her Imagine Spot, she suffered a humiliating defeat from him and he taunts her. She is already made out to be a liar in the episode but when she challenges him later on in this episode, the audience sees Cilan enjoying toying with her needlessly when it would only need one hit to KO both of her Pokemon. Somehow, the idea of him being a nice guy in both continuities is shattered if you put this into perspective. This makes the idea of Cilan secretly being a bad guy and being one of the three members of the Shadow Triad more likely.
    • It's a never ending debate on whether Paul is either a Domestic Abuser who tortures Pokemon, never shows any care for them whatsoever, and deserves to have his license as a trainer taken away, or if he's simply a Jerk with a Heart of Jerk and very strict trainer who's also fair enough to his Pokemon and knows his methods will pay off in the end. If you look at the way Paul is from his first appearances to his last, you'll most certainly see he's made some changes.
    • Pokemon themselves, and the practice of battling. Are they fully sapient Proud Warrior Race Guys engaging in their version of UFC with "coaches" who've earned their respect? Or are they little more than powerful animals being made to suffer through a sterilized depiction of cockfighting?
  • Ranma ˝
    • Ranma Saotome is a slightly immature but decent young man trying to do right by various friends, family, and rivals without causing massive loss of honor for all... or he's an egotistical, emotionally stunted Jerk Ass who's too screwed up to know what the right thing is, let alone have the strength to do it. All the lockfics, where Ranma is locked more or less permanently into his girl form, or other fics where there's a reason for Ranma to seriously reconsider his opinion on girls and eventually evenbecome one in mind as well as body.
    • Akane Tendo, his fiancée, is shown in fanwork as one of these: an evil, murderous, misandrist psycho who wants to downright murder Ranma for any of his screw-ups; a genuinely kind girl with identity issues who happens to have a huge Berserk Button that Ranma pushes often; or a saintly little victim who snaps only because of Ranma's constant and abusive Jerkassitude.
    • Every character in Ranma gets this treatment at some point, from Ranma and Akane to their families (does Genma have an honorable side deep down, or is he completely irredeemable? And just how sweet is Kasumi, really?) to the Amazons (Cologne ranges from a cold warrior woman determined to drag Ranma back to China to a snarky old lady who enjoys watching Nerima's chaos)... Considering the massive amount of fanon and fanfic that exist for the series, it would be more surprising if there weren't this many interpretations.
    • An in-canon example; the anime treats many characters differently from the original manga, though precisely who, how differently, and whether this is good or bad is a matter of personal opinion. Example changes:
      1. Ranma and Akane are more prone to juvenile arguments and bickering in the anime; in the manga, they more or less get along with occasional bouts of surprisingly extreme arguing. At least they get plenty of moments of camaradrie, teamwork and generally enjoying being around each other in both media.
      2. Shampoo is less violent and more devoted in the anime, getting an episode in which she proves willing to defend Ranma even from her own family, no matter if it takes death (hers or theirs) to do it. Her faith in Ranma and desire to be with him is played up more; for instance, the story where Maomolin attempts to turn her into a cat so he can marry her is changed to include a scene where she threatens to slit her own throat if he won't let her go. She seems to get on better with her rivals, or at least respect them more. Most notably, she saves Akane from a dangerous fall in the Immortal Phoenix OAV — with a zinger about Akane's weight, but she does it.
      3. Ukyo is more passionate about martial arts. In one late manga story, she loses a duel to a Forgotten Rival from her childhood and is quite blase about it — she's just glad he'll leave and stop bothering her. In the anime, one episode is centered on her being defeated by a rival in the art of Martial Arts Cookery, which leaves her horrorstruck, guilty and and outraged at her "weakness". She even chews Ranma out for a thoughtless but well-meaning comment that she thought was him saying martial arts shouldn't matter so much to her because she's a woman. She also genuinely values her friendship with him in the anime; though she in the depths of her heart wants him to return her romantic feelings, she is willing to back down from her schemes if they are putting their friendship at risk. (See the "Great Girly-Girl Gambit" episode).
      4. The Kuno siblings are treated more sympathetically in the anime. Kodachi grew up without any parental figure except Tatewaki; she is several times implied to be a well-meaning but (very) strange who is quite lonely and who clings to Ranma because he's the closest thing to a real friend she has. Tatewaki, meanwhile, was cruelly abused by their father before he bogged off to Hawaii; he has been caring for himself, his sister, and their estate on his own ever since.
      5. Ryoga's connection to Akane is depicted as more intense in the anime, making him either more sympathetic or more pathetic, depending on your feelings about him. He deliberately tries to save Ranma from being permanently enchanted to love Shampoo with a Red String of Fate because seeing him acting so loving to her is upsetting Akane. Granted, he collapses into an indecisive panic when he realises that letting Shampoo win means he can have Akane by default; but at least he tries. He makes a passionate speech about how he will always love Akane and watch over her from the shadows in the OAV adaptation of the Ryugenzawa story. In an anime-unique OAV, he leaves in the middle of the night because he knows he'll be tempted to sabotage Akane's upcoming battle to win back the rights to be the official Tendo Dojo heir (and Ranma's fiancee), and he can't bear to hurt her by doing that. In one episode, he absently contemplates staying as P-chan all the time to be Akane's pet 24/7. Finally, the an anime episode that introduced Anna Brown, who would be an Expy of Akari if she hadn't come first, he admits that he could fall in love with her and may never be this happy again if he leaves... and yet he is still unable to resist telling her that he can't stay and going back to Akane.
      6. In the anime, Mousse is depicted as a very creepy Stalker with a Crush. In the final arc of the manga, Shampoo gets mind controlled, and he gets the opportunity to make her his slave. He instead frees her... only for her to go right back to stalking Ranma. He remarks that he's going to be kicking himself for years.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena:
    • Anthy:
      • While no one thinks she isn't The Woobie, many people think she is a Manipulative Bastard worse than her brother, having turned cruel and spiteful after how many years of her in a state of And I Must Scream. Mostly she seems to think she has no choice in the matter. People who support the interpretation believe she's just being a coward, although the "pure Woobie" interpretation says that she's so broken she didn't realize that she had the capacity to take a stand.
      • There are definitely people who don't see her as The Woobie, and refuse to consider her as anything other than a "wimp" or a "passive-aggressive bitch." This mentality is less common among people who've been fans of the series for a reasonable time, but it can be frustrating to see the casual dismissal of her character among those who really, really have no idea what they're talking about.
    • What about movie Anthy? She's just badass.
    • Our protagonist. Most fans see Utena as a noble Determinator who manages to fight off the negative influences of the broken and deluded people around her. However, a small subset of the fandom don't see steadfast uprightness so much as just another, albeit more resilient, form of her fellow students' misconceptions. After all, she is maninpulated by Akio in the end, just like everyone else, including Anthy. Who's to say that her worldview was not just as simplistic, selfish, and/or flat-out delusional as those she shatters in other people (rather painfully, it must be added) over the course of the series?
  • In the final episode of Robotech, the use of the Neutron-S missiles was said to be ordered by Admiral Rick Hunter. Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles (as well as the Prelude comic) attempts to avert this by showing his hesitation. It was discovered that the missile warheads cause the formation of a black hole, so he tried to warn Vince Grant that the missiles should not be used against Earth but that's neither here nor there. The original plan was a "Scorched Earth Tactic" which would have killed millions of humans as well as hopefully destroyed Invid Reflex Point. Despite the fact that the comic attempts to give the impression that Rick Hunter simply agreed with a committee decision, the Shadow Chronicles film once again simply indicates that he is the originator of the order. Your opinion of Hunter will depend on whether you've read the Prelude Comic or not.
  • Sailor Moon
    • Someone explained that Chibi-Usa looks nothing like her mother Usagi because she was the lovechild of Mamoru and Rei, with her hair dyed and contacts added to disguise her resemblance to her actual mother.
    • There were at least two more versions: Chibi-Usa's real mother is either Luna or Sailor Pluto (all three characters have red eyes in the anime). The latter idea was supported by the fact that Chibi-Usa is attached to Pluto even after they both end up in the present maintaining Secret Identities.
    • On the other side of her parentage, one fic has Chibi-Usa's real father be Rubeus because he has red hair and Usagi has blonde, which combine to make pink; and he and Chibi-Usa both have red eyes.
    • All of Chibi-Usa's earlier quirks (besides being a Bratty Half-Pint, wielding weapons that no five-to-eight year old should be wielding, wetting herself, chasing after her father, etc.) makes more sense when you consider these things:
      1. She's arguably 900 years old in a world that either has a longer average lifespan or has completely overcome death.
      2. She's a half breed of human and Moon Person (or whatever you care to call them), and most of them are out for her blood.
      3. She is screwed up from the backstory for R for sitting in the shadow of her parents and eventually ensuring the destruction of the future world.
      4. She is Usagi's biological child, and she inherited her problems but has not had her character growth!
    • Word of God stated that Chibi-Usa is pink out of a reference to how albino rabbits have pink eyes.
    • Sailor Pluto — silent guardian of time, or engineer of dystopian future?
    • Neo Queen Serenity can easily come across as a dictator, depending on whether you're willing to take it on faith that "purification" and "brainwashing" aren't the same thing.
  • Saki:
    • Saki is either an optimistic young girl doing her best to reconcile with her sister or an unstoppable demon who gleefully destroys the dreams of other young girls just so she can get back at Teru. To be fair in this game there's always loser and winner, and Saki is determined to win all the way to final when she saw Shiraitodai is in different block.
    • Teru has several, since she has almost no screentime outside of Saki's flashbacks and dreams, at least until Achiga-Hen
      • Teru's saying that she has no sister is typically seen as a cruel act that is proof that she's a Jerk Ass who is not the sister Saki remembers. But implications at a tragedy in the Miyanaga family's past suggest that Teru might have been emotionally affected in some way, and their estrangement may not be due to her hating Saki.
      • It's indicated in Achiga-Hen that Teru puts on a polite and cheerful act for the press, while she is privately a colder and more aloof individual. However, after Toki collapses in front of her after their match, she is completely shocked, and later expresses concern about Toki's well-being under her breath, which could indicate a kinder side of Teru she may not even be aware of herself.
      • Another alternate interpretation suggests that whenever Teru's giving off an imposing aura, she, like her sister, is secretly scared or desperate to find the bathroom.
    • Nodoka's father. Is he willing to give Nodoka a chance to prove herself at Mahjong despite not thinking much of it, and likely to change his mind? Or was his offer to "consider" letting her stay if she wins the national tournament- a small concession with a difficult to achieve condition- made in the belief that Nodoka won't be able to succeed, and possibly insincere at that?
    • Is Coach Kubo of Kazekoshi a tough, but fair mahjong coach, or does she excessively punish her players for minor mistakes? Additionally, has she been like this all along, or is this in response to Kazekoshi losing to Ryuumonbuchi in the prefecturals last year, which caused her to believe that Kazekoshi had become complacent and needs to take their games more seriously?
  • In School Days, this often happens with the main characters — Makoto, Sekai, and Kotonoha:
    • For Makoto, it's whether he's truly a cold-hearted Casanova or just a regular person who is having a normal reaction to being surrounded by hot women who want to have sex with him. He is a hormonal teenager, after all. Doesn't help that the manga and the anime seem to have different versions of Makoto.
    • In Sekai's case, it's whether she's an innocent girl overcome with passion from her Matchmaker's Crush, or a manipulative bitch who tried to win her man by offering herself to him despite his already having a girlfriend.
    • For Kotonoha, there's the ongoing debate over whether she was a normal girl who was broken by the abuse she suffered over the series, or if she had a mental disorder from the beginning.
  • The interpretations of the main characters in Science Ninja Team Gatchaman are not only a subject of many debates in the fandom, but have basis in canon:
    • Ken: Rebellious Jerk Ass who only cares about himself, frustrated and lonely guy struggling to carry the weight of being The Hero on his shoulders, or upstanding moral boy scout? His feelings for Jun seem to change an awful lot. Does he ignore her, see her as "one of the guys" or could he return the affections she holds for him? And then there are fans who think he's gay due to his utter cluelessness when it comes to women.
    • Joe: Sociopathic Hero who just wants to blow stuff up and fight, overtly tragic woobie or fast-driving flirt? His own feelings towards Ken are subject to debate as well.
    • Jun: Depending on the Writer, she's either smart, capable Action Girl with good business sense or a victim of 1970s Japanese sexism. Her feelings for Ken also vary in their intensity from girlish crush to real love...and to some fanfic writers angsty pining.
    • Jinpei: His young age makes him subject to a lot of changes in his maturity level and role as The Smart Guy; sometimes he shows great skill and insight for someone his age and other times he's a Mouthy Kid whose inability to sit still gets him in trouble.
    • Ryu is either the pudgy Plucky Comic Relief Big Eater or the Gentle Giant, though most of the time they overlap. Fan Fic tends to Flanderize the former, though. Also, his Book Dumb country boy tendencies vary from episode to episode.
    • Some folks consider Dr. Nambu to be a manipulative Trickster Mentor (or just a manipulative ass), but others see him as a bona fide Team Dad.
    • Red Impulse: Abusive asshole or a man torn between being a good father vs his life's work? And let's not even go into Battle of the Planets, especially for Mark and Jason vs Ken and Joe...
  • An in universe example in Skip Beat!: Kyouko is cast as the villain in a remake of a late 80's drama. The character is a Rich Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who has a huge resentment towards the heroine and uses a facial scar she got from an accident where both were involved to emotionally blackmailing her. The original actress interpreted the character as a apparently timid girl who was not ashamed of use the Wounded Gazelle Gambit near constantly, using Peek-a-Bangs to conceal her Evil Scars. Kyouko instead plays the character as a bitter, resentful teen in perpetual Passive-Aggressive Kombat mode, openly showing her scar and having a more "in your face" attitude. Kyouko's justification is that, while the original interpretation was valid and all, she couldn't see the daughter of a rich family spotting such a big facial scar: if you had get such damage twenty years ago you should have had to live with it, but nowdays you can get a plastic surgeon to erase or minimize it. Since the scar blackmailing is fundamental to the character and the plot, Kyouko decided to play her as the kind of person that would have kept such a scar in purpose.
  • Soul Eater:
    • Many fanfics present Soul as being an awkward teenager who is head-over-heels for his best friend, Maka, despite all her nerdiness; Just as many present him as a complete Jerk Ass who has to watch Maka nearly die before he gets any amount of Character Development.
    • Maka is either a Cute Bruiser and the Only Sane Man or a complete Alpha Bitch and Mary Sue. Fanfics will also present her as such - she's usually either a School Girl With A Crush on Soul and is completely incapable of hiding her feelings for him, or is an extraordinarily violent young girl in complete denial about her feelings.
    • Spirit, Maka's father. Seeing all the suffering he goes through on the show makes him far more sympathetic than Maka's mother, who has not made any appearances in any media. One could easily think that she isn't that good of a person if she never visited Maka.
  • Tenchi Muyo! is rife with these:
    • Ryoko is one of these: (A) a troubled soul who was forced to do evil (see below), who is the only one that truly loves Tenchi (most commonly because she watched him grow up), and who also knows every character (particularly Tenchi and Ayeka) better than they know themselves; (B) an evil sociopathic slut who just wants Tenchi for his lower organs; C) a cruel sociopath who only wants Tenchi because she will do anything to hurt Ayeka.
    • The OVA continuity has fans debating about the nature of Kagato's control of Ryoko, both in the past and at the end of the first arc, to determine how traumatized she might have been. Was Ryoko a pure mindless killing machine? Or was she aware of her actions but still unable to stop herself due to Kagato's overwhelming control? Series creator Masaki Kajishima's Tie In Novels established Ryoko as a Tykebomb who was kept on a short leash emotionally but who was still largely in control of her actions before her imprisonment, and so it's impossible for her to be entirely innocent — or entirely guilty.
    • Ayeka is one of these: (A) a calm, understanding, proud, powerful woman who wants what's best for everybody; (B) an evil lazy bitch who only wants Tenchi because she will do anything to hurt Ryoko; or (C) The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask because her position in life requires her to conceal that deep down she's an insecure Tsundere.
    • Interestingly, unless Ayeka and Ryoko are being portrayed with the "we destroy the house every week by fighting" mentality, Ayeka's fighting prowess is usually forgotten, which makes her a Damsel in Distress. It's assumed that Ayeka cannot fight on even ground with even their lower fighters (such as Mihoshi). This is Flanderization of the plot point in the OVAs that Ryoko was much more powerful in a serious fight.
    • None of these consider "Call Me Princess", Ayeka's Image Song, which depicts her as a whip-happy, leather clad sadist... explaining that it's "traditional royal bridegroom training". Is she lying, or is BDSM one of the pillars of Juraian culture?
    • There is the occasional fanfic which runs with the Marry Them All solution by giving both of the ladies positive interpretations and enough maturity or mutual affection to go the Polyamorous Route(tm). This is the Word of God.
    • Washu: a) a cute geek who, thanks to being very old, is unable to realize the stress she puts the 20- or couple-hundred-year-old younglings through? b) a psychopathic Mad Scientist who will do anything For Science!, up to and including emotional (and probably literal) rape of Tenchi?; c) A goddess with an Omniscient Morality License coming from having lived waaaaaaaay too long, thus having her morality seriously whacked and/or practically non-existent?
    • Mihoshi. She is one of these: (a) The Fool, and thus both The Rival and The Load for Kiyone; (b) a brilliant actor pulling off the greatest case of Obfuscating Stupidity ever; (c) a Genius Ditz who achieved a Bunny-Ears Lawyer reputation; (d) The Cape and Broken Bird who has seen so such trauma that she has burned out and is dealing with it by becoming a Cloudcuckoolander.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann:
  • In Uta Kata, does Satsuki get upset because her best friend Keiko kisses the guy who just stood her up moments before, or because her beloved Keiko is making out with someone else? It could go either way, but the fact remains that Satsuki never showed any overt interest in the guy before that, and she is shown to be extremely close with Keiko throughout the series.
  • The Yu-Gi-Oh: Duel Monsters series has quite a few:
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX:
    • Fan interpretation of Judai's relationship with Johan in flip-flops between just two duel-obsessed guys finding a niche with each other and Ho Yay. Also, whether Yubel should be considered male or female has been heavily debated.
    • Judai Yuki of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX has been seen both as the type of person who is calm under pressure even when dueling evil aliens or demonic Clingy Jealous Girls and the like, and as a clueless dolt who never understands the severity of a situation and who has no idea exactly what he duels for. He himself wrestles with this question in season 3. Ironically, the first time he tries taking a duel seriously, he does it too well and snaps.
  • YuYu Hakusho:
    • Yukina:
      • Interpretations of Yukina, Hiei's sister, run the gamut from Naďve Everygirl who is happy just to be with her human friends even if she can't find her brother, to Emotionless Girl who wants her brother to commit genocide on the Koorime for throwing him away, and everything in between. Also, has she figured out Hiei is her brother? She does call him brother once, but immediately backtracked and said she would like her brother to be like him. There's also debate over her sexuality, as Koorime ("Ice Maidens") are all female and reproduce asexually, but her mother, Hina, clearly had some kind of sexual relationship with a man in order to produce Hiei. There's even a certain level of debate towards whether or not Yukina is a product of the sexual encounters between Hina and Hiei's father, or if Yukina was the asexually reproduced daughter a Koorime has every hundred years. So could she fall in love and have a sexual relationship with Kuwabara? Is she a lesbian? Or is she 100% asexual?
      • In the manga, after Hiei tells Yukina that if she wants to see the Ice Maidens wiped out, she should do it herself rather than rely on her brother, she says "I believe... my brother would tell me the same thing," giving no indication that she knows that Hiei is her brother, but leaving open the possibility that she could find out. The manga translation also seems to indicate that she sees destroying the Koorime as a species-wide Mercy Kill, since she doesn't think people can or should suppress their emotions (which takes on more meaning when you consider that she was imprisoned in Tarukane's mansion and had to force herself not to cry so he couldn't harvest her tears).
      • Adding to the speculation would be a scene from Eizou Hakusho, where Hiei attempts to return Yukina's Hiruiseki stone claiming her brother is dead, but she smiles and says he should keep it before leaving. Genkai proceeds to tell Hiei that Yukina is not the child he thinks she is, possibly further implying she has already figured it out.
      • Is Yukina really as harmless as she acts, or is she actually a Hidden Badass who nonetheless gets others to fight for her? Hiei told her to kill the Koorime herself; would he have said that to her if he didn't think she could actually do it? Hiei's been a prodigious powerhouse from literally before he was born, so it's perfectly possible that Yukina is the same way.
    • Kurama is also the subject of much debate, largely because of changes made in the slightly Bowdlerised English dub, which featured a scene where his transformed demon-self spoke to his more human-like self as if they were separate entities. Thus, some fans have come to believe that he has a borderline (or even full-on) Split Personality. Other fans believe that he has a single identity, and has merely experienced Character Development as a result of his human facade.
    • Is Yaminade no Itsuki a simple love-struck Psycho Supporter, or is there something more to it?
  • Zero no Tsukaima: Is Saito just a creepy pervert played straight, or a deconstruction of the otaku/ordinary person thrown into a... bountiful fantasy realm?

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